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USBoR Seeking: Portable Power Supplies-vector graphics of a windmill and solar panel overlaid on a photogrpah of a a body of a ferry crossing a body of water with a ridge in the background.yet2 is working with the US Bureau of Reclamation and the US Geological Survey to find the next generation of portable power supplies for remote water monitoring sites. Systems with low size, weight, power, and cost are priority. Energy storage (e.g. batteries, super capacitors, etc.), power generation (e.g. solar, wind, etc.), and battery management solutions are in scope.


The USGS and Reclamation operate over 13,500 real-time water monitoring stations across the country. Most stations require relatively low power and currently consist of a lead-acid battery and solar panel that recharges it. However, as new monitoring technologies emerge, the power needs of these systems will increase to accommodate new sensors and cameras. Therefore, USGS and Reclamation are seeking to understand the landscape of new power supply technologies that can efficiently meet the demands of this growing set of monitoring technologies.


  • Portable – lightweight (<50 lbs) and small form factor to allow for easy and safe transportation to and from remote monitoring stations.
  • Reliable & Efficient – able to provide adequate power during extended periods (ideally 3+ days) of low photovoltaic cell production and can manage excess power and store for use during periods of high demand and low recharge.
  • Robust – with stations located from Alaska to Puerto Rico and from Hawaii to Maine, monitoring stations are located in all climates and environmental extremes. Solutions that can operate in extreme temperatures, humidity, etc. are of high interest.
  • Smart – able to use smart power management routines and technologies (such as MPPT solar systems) to extend the life of the battery and provide remote monitoring/reporting capabilities for diagnostics (MQTT messaging protocol).


Possible Solution Areas

  • Energy storage
    • Batteries
    • Super capacitors
    • Lithium ion
  • Power generation
    • Solar
    • Wind
    • Micro-hydro
    • Energy Harvesting
    • Thermoelectric (TEG) Generators as backup and companion to solar (PV) power systems.
  • Battery management solutions
    • Efficient charge/discharge
    • Rapid charging
    • Predictive maintenance


Desired Outcome of the Solution

Open to a wide range of solutions, from commercial-off-the-shelf products to early stage research.

Field of Use and Intended Applications

Remote water site monitoring

Previously Attempted Solutions

Lead-acid batteries and solar panels


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Image Credits: Clker-Free-Vector-Images, OpenClipart-Vectors & Igor Ovsyannykov from Pixabay

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